Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


three persons before Siegessäule in 1920s

This wonderful vintage photo, taken some time in the 1920s, captured the building of Reichstag, the German Parliament, in the background and the Siegessäule, the Victory Column, at its pre-1938 location at Königsplatz (Platz der Republik today).

Hitler´s new urban planning for the World Capital of Germania required the moving of the Siegessäule: it was placed exactly one Roman mile further west, in the middle of the massive roundabout known as the Großer Stern.

In order to improve the column´s visibility its shaft was extended by one ring (one storey). On top of that, the Angel of Victory or Viktoria crowning the monument – commonly known as Goldelse (Golden Lizzie) – was given a 90° turn to the left.

Originally, the giant figure faced the south and looked towards another famous Berlin statue, the Viktoria standing on top of the Friedenssäule at Belle-Alliance-Platz (Merhingplatz in Kreuzberg). Both goddesses seemed to keep an eye on the heart of the city.

But the new, 1938 design of the area of the Tiergarten, demanded new arrangement be introduced: Goldelse was to no longer look towards Kreuzberg and the south but to fix her eyes on the City West, turning her back on the Quadriga on top of Brandenburger Tor. She was to look down the new Nazi thoroughfare that was to cut through the middle of the city: the Ost-West-Axis.

Despite the fact that Hitler´s plan did not take off and that Berlin was never buried under Germania, the Siegessäule Viktoria was never turned again and continued to cast her forlorn look towards the east: between 1961 and 1989 she was one of the few Berliners who had a proper view of the walled-off half of the city.

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